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With Cancellations Mounting, Sanders Wants Airline Fines

Although the Department of Transportation said they will wait for the Independence Day holiday weekend to evaluate airline performance, one former presidential candidate wants carriers to face fines now.
A familiar name in U.S. politics wants airlines to face fines of $55,000 per flight cancellation due to understaffing.


NPR reports Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is calling on the U.S. Department of Transportation and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg to start fining airlines for last-minute cancellations.


Letter Asks for Refunds on Flights Delayed Over One Hour, Fines for Cancellations

In the two-page letter posted to Twitter, Sanders is asking the DOT to take several measures towards protecting the flying public. In addition to demanding fines for cancellations due to unavailable airline staff, the two-time presidential candidate also wants airlines to give customers a refund if their flight is delayed by more than one hour.



“During the pandemic, when air travel came to a near halt, U.S. taxpayers came to the rescue and gave $54 billion to the airline industry,” writes Sanders in his letter. “Given all of the generous taxpayer support that has been provided to the airline industry, all of us have a responsibility to make sure that passengers and crew members are treated with respect, not contempt.”


The letter comes before what is anticipated to be a very busy – and very stressful – Independence Day weekend for both airlines and passengers. Newsweek reports through the first six months of 2022, over 121,900 flights within, to, or from the United States have been cancelled, which is more than the same time in 2021. The problem is anticipated to be so bad, Delta Air Lines is offering flyers a full waiver to change their flights between July 1 and 4, 2022.


In previous comments, Buttigieg sent sympathies to flyers after he experienced a flight cancellation returning to Washington, D.C. Although the DOT continues to monitor the situation, the Transportation Secretary did not commit to any penalties until after the Fourth of July.


Sanders’ Letter Comes as Airlines Want More from Governments

While Sanders says his requests are intended to protect the flying public, airlines say they need more aid and less regulation from governments. At the International Air Transport Association 2022 Annual General Meeting, leaders from the consortium asked for additional support in infrastructure and fewer laws, including a Brazilian bill which would require every airline to offer one checked bag per flyer.

nusiax July 9, 2022

Hahaha that is so funny as most cancellations are not misplacing by the airlines. It is reactionary decisions made by airports and TSA.  They are short staffed as well.   I am no fan of airlines and believe they need the dame consequencez as passenger.  But at the moment it is short staff at airports not being able to process the passengerz.  

So it is just another political promise that will never materialize.  

ctm78 July 5, 2022

So will Senator Sanders also be writing a letter to Secretary Yellen demanding that the IRS pay fines for failing to timely process tax returns and respond to inquiries?

Gizzabreak July 3, 2022

Political publicity stunt? "... It's time for Secretary Pete to fine airlines $55,000 per passenger for every flight cancellation they know can’t be fully staffed ...". THEY KNOW? They are, of course, going to hold their hands up an say "over here Pete, pick me, we KNEW we couldn't staff that/those flights".

50ae July 1, 2022

So fine the airlines, money goes to the government, they waste it on some BS and the fine gets shifted back to the PAX in the form of even higher ticket costs.  Nice job Sanders at proving once again you have no idea how money works.